E-mail Concerns and Obstacles for Local Elected Officials

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Taylor & Francis


E-mail provides many benefits to local elected officials, but its usefulness is limited by certain problems and concerns. Using a survey of 184 elected city and county representatives, this paper discusses the main issues identified by local officials as areas where improvement is desired in e-mail communication. ‘Spam’ is the most frequently cited problem. Complaints also arise regarding the volume, content, clarity, and tone of e-mail correspondence. Concerns about e-mail privacy, ‘public record,’ and open meetings limit e-mail communication. Substantive limitations and procedural constraints may present more formidable obstacles than technological shortcomings.